From May 19-21, the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association held its Annual Conference at the Westin Bayshore Hotel in Vancouver, bringing together panels and keynote speakers discussing topics on the theme of Capitalizing on Change: Uncertainty & Opportunity in Canada’s Shifting Economy.
The CVCA is the voice of Canada’s venture capital and private equity industry, with the mission of broadening industry awareness through market research, professional development, and networking opportunities.
Hootsuite Founder and CEO Ryan Holmes received the CVCA’s Entrepreneur of the Year award. “Ryan’s tenacious approach to business and to life embody the very spirit of entrepreneurship,” said Aki Georgacacos, CVCA Awards Committee Chair and Senior Managing Director of Avrio Capital. “Ryan’s ability to ‘find a way’ in the face of obstacles and adversity should serve as an inspirational reminder to all Canadians that bold ideas can flourish right here.”
Hootsuite is the most popular global social relationship platform company used by over 12 million users, including 744 of the Fortune 1000 companies. Also noted was Holmes’ effort to create a made-in-Canada technology success story, as well as his co-founding of The Next Big Thing, a non-profit foundation program for young entrepreneurs.
The CVCA presented numerous other awards throughout the conference:
Deal of the Year Awards went to Calgary-based Avrio Capital in the venture capital category for its sale of Wolf Trax Inc., and Toronto-based Clairvest Group Inc. in the private equity category for its sale of KUBRA Data Transfer Ltd. The deals were selected for outstanding cash realization value and multiple of invested capital returned.
Avrio Capital, which invests in innovative food and agricultural companies, earned a multiple of 15.4x on invested capital returned. Aviro invested $2.5 million in Wolf Trax Inc., an agriculture technology company focused on developing, manufacturing and selling high efficiency fertilizer and seed treatments. Wolf Trax Inc. was acquired by Compass Minerals in 2014 for $38.55 million.
Clairvest Group Inc., which invests in entrepreneurial corporations, saw a multiple of 13.4x on $13 million invested. Clairvest invested in KUBRA Data Transfer Ltd, a leading North American provider of outsourced billing solutions for companies with a large customer base. KUBRA Data Transfer Ltd was acquired by Hearst Corporation for almost $175 million in 2014.
The Ted Anderson Community Leader Award went to Tom Kennedy, Chairman and Managing Director, Kensington Capital Partners. The award is presented to someone who demonstrates active commitment to community engagement, and provides substantial value to a not-for-profit organization or cause through personal time and fund raising efforts. Kennedy has been the Director of LOFT Community Services in Toronto for several years, and is an active board member of the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network. The award presentation highlighted Kennedy’s legacy support of the Regent Park School of Music, which provides music education to disadvantaged youth as an example of Kennedy’s admirable social citizenship.
Finally, the BDC Innovation Award for industrial app development went to RtTech Software, a New Brunswick-based software company specializing in industrial app development. RtTech’s solutions help manufacturing companies improve asset availability and utilization, such as RtDuet Cloud, the cloud-based software that allows manufacturers to monitor their output in real time.